For a little bit over a quarter, it seemed like another strange tale of upset was possible in the somewhat competitive series between longtime Big 8 foes Kansas and Oklahoma. Tales of past shockers started to fill the head of older Kansas fans that had seen greater upsets.
Soon thereafter, those thoughts faded away and returned to a familiar tone, as the Sooners rallied from a 13-0 deficit with 25 unanswered points to hand the Jayhawks their 24 consecutive conference loss 34-19 Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
"Honestly, I think we battled it out today, there's a lot of good things to take from it. There were also a couple mistakes that were costly, as well. They might not have seemed costly at the moment, but you can tell that they played into the game,” running back Darrian Miller said. “The next step is just come into the weekend, and the practices ahead and the next opponent. That's the only way we can keep on advancing. Not looking ahead and focusing on things that we need to assess at the moment and just keep working with that."
Kansas (2-4, 0-3) won’t have it any easier next Saturday, as they welcome the Baylor machine to town, a team that has scored 70 or more points in five of their six wins this season.
Against 18th ranked Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1), the Jayhawks came out with a purpose and fight, despite missing key players due to injury, including linebackers Ben Heeney and Samson Faifilli, as well as halfback/receiver Tony Pierson. In the first quarter, the much maligned offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, as Sims raced to 12 carries and 96 yards with a touchdown. Sims would finish with 23 carries and 119 yards with two touchdowns. The Jayhawks as a team would tally 185 yards rushing as a team, aided by an additional 68 yards from Miller and the best performance by the offensive line this season.
"It felt good. Give credit to the offensive line, they were physical up front. They won the battle at the line of scrimmage. That was our plan the whole week, just win the line of scrimmage and they went out there and they did that," Sims said.
After racing out to an early lead, the Sooner got going behind quarterback Blake Bell. Bell manage the game well and finished the day 15-25 for 131 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 69 yards rushing on 10 carries.
The game also featured the debut of freshman Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart, whose redshirt was burned midway through the second quarter, when he replaced Heaps for a series. Officially, he ran three running plays which produced nothing, but expect to see him develop, grow and see much more playing time going forward.
Special teams also played a big part in the game for both teams, as each kicker missed a PAT, with Kansas’ Matthew Wyman getting one blocked in the fourth quarter, after the Jayhawks cut the deficit to six points on a Sims touchdown. The block would be returned for a safety and on the ensuing Oklahoma possession, a touchdown would put the game out of reach. The Jayhawks also had a punt blocked in the second quarter which also produced an Oklahoma safety.
Still, despite what many naysayers and doubters though, Kansas was in the game well into the final quarter and that is what they will take into next week’s matchup with sixth ranked Baylor.